|Jane Jeong Trenka|
In 2007, Jane Jeong Trenka, a Korean-American novelist who also goes by the Korean name Jeong Kyong-ah, founded Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea (TRACK) in attempt to improve Korea’s adoption policy and support unwed mothers. It began with five members but now has more than 100.
“It makes me angry when I hear that a woman can’t raise her own child, not because of war or famine but because she’s a single mother,” said Trenka, 39, who is a Korean adoptee. “Korea’s adoption policy and the social prejudice agaiust unwed mothers and their children are forcing Korean babies to become international adoptees.”
Trenka wants the Korean government to revise its adoption law and provide support to unwed mothers.
“The most effective way to reduce the number of children adopted overseas is expanding support to single mothers so they can keep their children rather than send them abroad,” Trenka said.
Trenka was adopted to the U.S. with her older sister when she was six-months-old. When she visited Korea in 2005, she found out that the adoption papers she obtained from her Korean adoption agency were different than the documents given to her adoptive family, including a different birthdate. That’s when she decided to settle down in Korea and work on issues related to adoption and single mothers.
Trenka’s adoptive parents didn’t want the sisters to have contact with their biological mother in Korea. But when Trenka was in high school, she accidentally found a letter from her biological mother. She discovered that her mother had been sending letters and presents.
On a brief trip to Korea in 2000, she met her biological mother, who said she had no choice but to put Trenka and her older sister up for adoption because of financial difficulties. Later in the year, Trenka’s biological mother died of cancer.
Trenka stressed that “adoptees’ desire to want to know about their biological parents is a human right.”
Tomorrow is Adoption Day in Korea, designated by the government in 2005 to promote adoption. Instead, TRACK will organize a “Single Moms’ Day” to raise awareness about single mothers and the discrimination they face. The day’s events include a conference and gift drive.
By Park Yu-mi [firstname.lastname@example.org]